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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

The MACAY, Yucatán’s only museum of its kind, says goodbye

Museum director makes a symbolic move that could soon be permanent.

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
The MACAY has been housed in Mérida’s Ateneo Peninsular complex since 1994. Photo: Courtesy

Yucatán’s contemporary art museum, MACAY, announced that it will close its doors today.

The closure, which has been described by the MACAY’s director as symbolic, may however soon be real.

The decision to stage the museum’s closure comes after Yucatán’s state government failed to meet its own deadline for making funds available to the museum. 

A permanent gallery at the Macay is devoted to Fernando García Ponce. Photo: MACAY

“The state signed a commitment to fund the MACAY back in 1993, but the government is no longer keeping up their end, so we are left with little choice,” said the MACAY’s director, Rafel Pérez.

The announcement was made on social media and has caused a stir in Yucatán’s art community. 

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“It is a shame that the government is closing down so many museums and cultural centers, it’s such a shame. The problem here is clearly one of corruption,” said Mérida resident Karen Bojorquez.

The Pasaje de la Revolución, which runs between Mérida’s Cathedral and the MACAY, is used by the museum for temporary outdoor exhibits. Photo: Courtesy

Commentators pointed out the hypocrisy of cutting back funding for the arts when plans for large and expensive infrastructure projects, such as Mérida’s recently announced new airport, are widely seen as unnecessary.

“La Flama” by Leonardo Nierman rests in the inner courtyard of the MACAY in Mérida, Yucatán. Photo: Courtesy

The MACAY is located in the very heart of Mérida’s Centro Histórico and is accessible through the Pasaje de la Revolución, a corridor just next to the southern end of Mérida’s San Ildefonso Cathedral. It faces the Plaza Grande, Mérida’s main square, and is contained in a 16th-century palace.

Since it first opened its doors in the early 1990s, admission to the MACAY has been free. The grand 38,000-square-foot building contains 15 rooms for temporary exhibits, two galleries, and four rooms for permanent exhibits.

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